Kitui Deputy Speaker Kasee Musya was Wednesday removed from office as Wiper party cracked the whip against disloyal members opposed to the impeachment of Governor Charity Ngilu.
Mr Musya, who is the MCA for Kisasi Ward in Kitui Rural Constituency, was voted out only days after refusing to support the impeachment motion.
Ngomeni MCA Eliud Nding'uri tabled the motion to remove Mr Musya as the head of the committee and chairs and subsequently as Deputy Speaker, which sailed through with ease.
He was accused of violating Section 26 and 28 of the County Powers and Privileges Act, after he allegedly used his office to bribe members to vote in a certain way during debate on the Appointments Committee report on approval of nominees to the County Public Service Board.
His removal means he has been demoted to the backbench and he will no longer sit in the powerful House Business Committee that decides the agendas to be debated in the Assembly.
The Deputy Speaker has been critical of his Wiper party colleagues whom he accused of blackmailing Governor Ngilu.
Last month, he criticised his party for acting with vendetta after Wiper MCAs ganged up to reject Mrs Ngilu's County Public Service Board nominees, which he supported.
Mr Musya lost his job only a week after his party leader Mr Kalonzo Musyoka met some Kitui MCAs at the home of Mwingi Central MP Gideon Mulyungi where he warned them that party positions must be respected.
In a veiled effort to whip the MCAs to support the motion, the former vice-president warned his troops against being disloyal to the party, as he reportedly gave his blessings for the motion to go ahead.
RESPECT PARTY POSITION
"I am aware that Kitui MCAs want to impeach Governor Ngilu. I don’t want to be dragged into their assembly business but it is important for Wiper MCAs to respect the party position and speak with one voice,” Mr Musyoka said.
The impeachment motion against Governor Ngilu which was drafted by Majority Leader Peter Kilonzo has divided Wiper MCAs into two camps.
One group, which claims to be loyal to the party, is led by Mr Kilonzo while the rebel members coalesce around the dewhipped Deputy Speaker.
Mr Musya said he was being punished for disobeying the party by refusing to support the impeachment motion.
"I know my removal was sanctioned by "party owners" but I'd rather lose the position of Deputy Speaker than blindly support party-sponsored motions which are motivated by political vendetta" said Mr Musya.
He said the assembly is deeply divided between MCAs from Mwingi and Kitui regions and that this is negatively polarising the county.
Another Wiper MCA James Musyoka from Kiomo Kyethani Ward in Mwingi West also announced that he will not support the impeachment motion, further casting doubts on Wiper party’s ability to marshal enough numbers to pass the motion.
The MCA told the Nation that the allegations of impropriety and abuse of office levelled against the governor lack evidence and, therefore, do not meet the threshold set out in law to warrant impeachment.
"We must be objective and truthful. I cannot support that motion because the people who elected me at ward level are against it," he said, adding that those voters are the same who elected the governor.
He said there are several Wiper MCAs who have declined to support the governor's impeachment because it has polarised the county along regional lines and created unnecessary tensions.
Wiper party, which enjoys support from a majority of 30 elected and nominated MCAs in the 54-member county assembly, faces the task of marshalling the requisite two thirds majority of 36 votes to see the motion through.
Mrs Ngilu's Narc party has 12 members but enjoys support from Jubilee party which has three MCAs and other smaller political parties and independent MCAs.
The split reduces Wiper party’s strength in the House, increasing Governor Ngilu's chances of survival.
Minority Leader Alex Nganga (Narc) said their camp has support of 23 MCAs and they are sure of defeating the motion.
"Procedurally, the Speaker requires only 18 members or a third of the assembly to approve such a motion but to pass it will be a tall order for the mover," he said.
Mr Nganga dismissed the grounds for the impeachment motion as a "concoction of lies and fake narratives" which cannot be substantiated and that the burden of proving the allegations lies with Wiper party.
"The whole country knows the frustrations and blackmail Governor Ngilu has endured in the hands of Wiper MCAs, including Monday's shameful attack on her lawyers at the assembly. This is desperation because their plan has collapsed," he said.
Even though the impeachment process was temporarily halted by the High court last week, it is emerging that Wiper party does not have an absolute majority to impeach the governor.
In public, Mr Kilonzo, the proponent of the motion, chest thumps that they have secured the support of 40 MCAs out of 54, but the discontent and cracks in Wiper paint a different picture.
The court case halting the impeachment process will be heard next week on July 6 before High Court Judge Weldon Korir.
LAWYERS KICKED OUT
On Monday, lawyers representing Mrs Ngilu were assaulted and violently ejected from the county assembly grounds at the orders of Speaker George Ndotto.
The lawyers had gone to serve the assembly with demand letters and respond to summons issued by the Speaker.
In the demand letter, Mrs Ngilu’s lawyers accused Mr Ndotto and Assembly Clerk Elijah Mutambuki of open bias and acting like the mover of the impeachment motion instead of being neutral arbiters.
“You seem to be biased against the governor and acting with malice. Instead of being a public servant, you have assumed the role of the mover of the motion by purporting to issue the notice of motion,” read the letter addressed to Mr Mutambuki.